Friday, April 01, 2011

And I Could Walk 500 Miles....

....if only I weren't so out of shape.

I joined a running group. We bought a pricey treadmill with our tax money and I've been using it since the beginning of March to try to take back control of my body and lose the flab, gain some energy, and just improve my health in general. I went to a specialty store for some good sneakers, and it was there that I learned of a training program for beginning runners or people who want to run, eventually (allegedly) getting them in shape to run or walk/run their first 5K.

The program is 12 weeks long. I'm in the walk/run group because I can't really run for more than 45 seconds to a minute without feeling like the angel of death is ready to scoop me up and fly me high up to the heavens. Weekly group runs, with tremendous support from mentors and coaches and other (non)runners supporting each other is a fabulous environment to be in.

The first week's group goal for the run/walk group was to complete one mile in intervals of running for 1 minute, walking for 2. I was one of the last to bring it on in, run/walking a 17:30 mile. Kind of sad. We have a set training schedule for each day of the week, including one day of rest, and two days of cross-training. The rest of the days include brisk 45 minute walks, walk/run intervals for 1.25 miles, and of course, the group run. I've followed the training schedule diligently, monitored my intake of calories (between 1400 and 1500 a day), and I thought for sure I'd be able to run a bit more without feeling like death was imminent.

Last night was the second group run, and my time was the same, 17:30 for one mile at run/walk intervals. Again....sad. Old ladies were passing me by. I was the third to the last to finish.

This is much harder than I anticipated. I'm very out of shape. I have lost 4 pounds so far, with a long term goal of losing 57 more by the time I turn 35 in November. I WILL NOT quit this. The 5K is on June 9th, and if I have to crawl across the finish line on my hands and knees, I will finish. I'm in my head too much, and I get nervous when my lungs feel like they're going to explode, and so I tend to pull back a bit. My legs feel as heavy as tree trunks, and my shins feel like they're going to pop out of my skin; this all makes it harder to push myself. I hope as time passes I'll be able to breathe a little easier, step a little lighter, and be able to run/jog more than a minute at a time.

I'm doing this for me. I won't quit. I can't quit. It's not an option.

Week 1 Group Run
1 mile
run/walk intervals at run 1, walk 2 - total run time, 3 min
total time - 17:30

Week 2 Group Run
1 mile
run/walk intervals at run 1:30, walk 2 - total run time, 4:30
total time - 17:30

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fibromyalgia: What A Pain!

Hello, world. Know what? Fibromyalgia sucks. I was "officially" diagnosed with fibromyalgia over the summer, and a trip to a rheumatologist confirmed it. Anyone who knows me personally knows of the medical struggles I've had, the tests I have gone through, the medications I have tried, some more than once to make sure I gave them a fair chance. In the absence of other findings through various tests (scans, blood tests), my doctors came to the conclusion that part, if not all, of my issues are caused by fibromyalgia. Prior to this diagnosis, I would scoff at the people on the commercials for drugs used to treat fibro, thinking, along with many, many others, that fibro pain was all in the head of the alleged sufferer, that it wasn't a real condition. I'm now eating crow, and perhaps this is karma kicking me in the...well, the hip, shoulders, back, neck, and chest. Those are the places on my body that hurt, some days more than others, some places more often than others.

I've had chronic back and hip pain since early 2006, around the time of my first pregnancy. Test after test after test found nothing. No musculoskeletal reason for the pain. Full body bone scan revealed no bone abnormalities. The more I became educated about fibro, the more I felt like I was reading a list of my symptoms. Unexplained chronic pain in various "trigger points" - check. Headaches - check. Dizziness - check. Feeling bodily sensations that other people don't typically feel (feeling the pulse of your heartbeat in every fiber of your being, feeling gastrointestinal processes, electric shock feelings throughout your body, etc., etc.) - check. Extreme fatigue - check. Concurrent thyroid issues and vitamin deficiencies - check. I could go on. And on. If this is "all" that winds up being wrong with my body, then I am truly thankful. It could be a lot worse.

But waking up (that is, if I've slept) in pain every day is so incredibly draining, both physically and emotionally. There are days when I cringe as my eyes open for the first time that day, just knowing that the slightest movement will set off the hip and back pain that I feel all day, every day. I have a momentary thought, every morning, that I hate the fact that I will need to get out of bed. Not because I'm depressed; I'm sad for myself that I feel like this and that the way I feel, at times, makes me angry/bitter/pitiful, but I'm not depressed, not by any clinician's standards. Besides, the various antidepressants often prescribed for fibromyalgia pain had no effect on my mood or my pain.

I'm not even close to being as active as I used to be or as I would like to be. I need to change that. The Wii Fit Plus is slowly getting my body acclimated to moving and stretching. My Wii trainer, named "Alice Spitbomb" by my kids, helps me through yoga poses that help my body loosen up. Stretch too far or too much, though, and my hip starts to scream. The movement helps a bit, though, and I look forward to being able to do more with myself as I become more stretched and lose a few pounds. For now it's the only thing that helps. I have muscle relaxers for the really bad days. They don't do much for the pain but they relax me enough so that I can fall asleep. I take so much Extra Strength Tylenol that I'm sure my liver will go on strike one of these days. Pain meds don't work. Chiropractic treatment only made things worse. I've considered going to an acupuncturist, but the thought of needles in my body gives me the creeps.

If anyone out there with fibromyalgia is reading this, have you found any relief for your pain and fatigue? What has worked for you?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Hungry N Bitter

Several days into the new year, I, like many other people out there, made a promise to myself (I refuse to make resolutions) that *this* would be the year I get serious about getting healthy. An astonishing number on the scale coupled with the fact that I have a huge ass has been enough of an impetus to get moving. Or so I thought.

My parents gave us a Wii for Christmas. I'm jazzed. I've wanted one forever, but our budget didn't allow for one. Not being able to afford a gym membership worth its money at the moment, I was glad for an opportunity to use Wii Fit and Wii Sports. I thought it was cool that I could make a little icon representing myself. I gave my little Mii my features: round face, medium-length hair pulled into braids, a little blush, brown hair and brown eyes, and the crooked smile that my husband still insists is one of my greatest features. It has to be, now, since I didn't have this fat ass when he met me. J-Lo booty, sure, but not this.

Anyway. I digress.

So, my Mii looks like me. On a good day. I put in my height, and then the Wii Fit scale (I loathe him) told me to step on the balance board. I guess my first clue should've been the fact that I heard a voice on the screen say, "OOO!!" as I stepped on. Nice. As the Wii calculated my BMI and weight, I stood, anticipating the number, knowing roughly what it would be. What I didn't expect, however, was my Mii to blow up like a balloon once the number registered. Mii looks like she could be a contestant on The Biggest Loser. I mean, when my Mii sits around the house, she sits around the house. When she sits on a rainbow, Skittles pop out. When she....

You get the idea. So, yeah...sure. I'd like to fit into smaller jeans. I'd like to not have to refer to myself as "Lardass." I'd like to be able to run around and play with my kids without needing the assistance of an oxygen tank.

Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. I don't need an oxygen tank.

Mostly, though, I'd like my Mii to lose her little muffin top and be a smokin' babe. So we're in this together. Me and my Mii. 50 pounds or bust.

The eating healthy crap, though, is already getting old. All I want is a piece of cake.

And to get Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold" out of my head. When I listen to songs, I don't typically pay attention to the lyrics. I realize it's a stupid song. And her voice kind of sucks. I'm more into melody, and this little ditty is quite catchy. It's a great song for when I run (ha ha) on the treadmill (that I don't have).

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

I'm back.

This blog was started in early 2006, right after I learned I was pregnant with my first child. It was maintained throughout his first year, and then I found out I was pregnant with Baby #2. Blogging slowly died down after that, and came to a halt in mid-2009. I forgot about this blog until yesterday, and I was happy to discover that it was still floating around out there in cyberspace. Looking back at the pictures of my babies brought tears to my eyes. My babies aren't babies anymore.

Nat is 4 now. Savannah is 2 1/2. I still see small snippets of their babyhood in their behavior, but those snippets are fewer and farther between. It makes me sad. I long for them to be babies again. I feel like I missed out on enjoying Nat's babyhood beyond age 1 because I was miserably pregnant. I feel like I missed out on Savannah's entire babyhood because that coincided with the beginning of my (still partially unresolved) health issues.

Happy 2011!

My hope for this year is to make a return to this blog that was started several years ago as a way to document my baby's firsts. Now, though, my focus will be on the daily musings of a mom with two preschoolers, and the fun and the trials associated with homeschooling. We have made the decision to homeschool our children, and Nat started preschool learning at home in September.

Not much has changed since last I wrote. We may or may not have begun to find causes of my health issues. My hope is that more will be resolved in the coming weeks. It would be nice to spend my time enjoying my children instead of sitting back and observing their play because I don't feel well enough to be up and active with them.

I still have a desperate need to be liked by everyone I know. I try hard. I think I try too hard, and then inevitably wind up putting people off. Friendships that I have maintained are all with people that I haven't seen in years. I'm not good at making friends in person. I'm awkward. This need to be liked is complicated by the fact that there are days that I feel like my own children don't like me. The arrival of the 4th birthday brought with it mood swings that I thought were only experienced by teenage girls. I hope beyond hope that his moods are normal because, as the title of the blog indicates, I worry that it may be a sign of something wrong. Is he happy? Is he sad? Lonely? Bored? Serial killer in training? Savannah, God bless her, can give Roseanne Arnold a run for her money with the pitch of her screeching when she doesn't get her way. It's not advisable to piss Savannah off. What does Kathy Griffin say? She'll cut a bitch. I'm going to have my hands full when Savannah hits her preteen years. The competition for alpha female is already in full swing, and I have to admit that there are days when she wins. It's just easier that way.

I suppose I could come clean for the new year and say that I've gotten awfully fat in the last few years. I'll blame part of it on my thyroid, part of it on the fibromyalgia I was diagnosed with during the summer, and part of it on the fact that I like to eat. A lot. I turn 35 this year. That scares me. That's....old. While I don't quite have the nerve to spill the beans about actual numbers yet, I do have a goal set for myself to lose between 50 and 60 pounds by my birthday in November. I have to do it. I weigh more than I did during either of my pregnancies and that kills me.

2010 was a hell of a year. My family saw a lot of ups, a few downs, and many in-betweens. I hope to do everything in my power to make 2011 one for the record books.